BQMSL Trophy History

Canada's Oldest Soccer Trophy?

    The Bay of Quinte Men's Soccer League recently presented its Division 1 League Trophy to relative newcomers Brighton Keystone Orange, for the 2008 summer season, and it was upon examination of this Trophy that the Orange crew found out just how fortunate they are to have won this coveted Cup.   In 1921 this brand new Trophy (at the time) was named “Merchants Cup Belleville Soccer League and the team of Tiger Tyres, captained by R. Davis was the very first team listed on the woodwork.  The next year 1922 the entry from Grand Trunk Railway with C. H. Rolinson as Skipper wrested the silverware away, and here is where the mystery starts.

    From 1922 until 1949 the Trophy must have disappeared.   Did the boys from Grand Trunk take it on a Canadian Railway tour?  Who knows?  By 1949 the Merchants Cup had resurfaced and 6 RD, R. C. A. F. won it.   In 1950 Batawa F. C. had the touch and kept it for 2 years.  Northern Electric then has its turn in the winners circle keeping the Cup for 3 years until 6 RD regrouped and won it back in 1956.  ’57 saw its’ return to Northern Electric, then back to Batawa in ’58 and to Northern Electric for 1959.

    Trenton landed on the scene in 1960 and in ’61 & ’62 the Trenton Ambers won the honors.  1963 through 1974 saw the Trophy find homes with RCAF United, Trenton Whitley Travelers', Belleville Parsons, and Whitley Insurance all having their turn with the silverware, but in 1975, all that changed.

    Quinte Hellenics recorded their first win of the Trophy in 1975 and since that time they have simply loaned it to other teams for short periods of time.  Hellenics won in 1975 & ’76 then Trenton Kinsmen in ’77 and Trenton MacDonalds in ’78.  Hellenics carved their name back on the Cup for ’79 and then allowed Charlie's Ambers to borrow it for 1981.  From 1982 to ’85 Hellenics regained ownership but again loaned it out to R. C. F. Pools for ’86 and to Italo Santa Maria for ’87.

    1988 was the year Hellenics started one of the most remarkable runs in local, if not national sports history.  From 1988 to 2003 Quinte Hellenics won this Trophy consecutively.  When asked how this was possible, Hellenics Ike Christopher would only allow that they….“had a couple of good guys”.   In 2004 Trenton Sockers grabbed it away for a year but Hellenics promptly went on another run of three year from 2005 to 2007.    Absolutely unbelievable but true.

    When Hellenics captain Anto Marsh handed this revered Trophy to Brighton’s Captain Matt Christian for the 2008 campaign, the men from Brighton must have felt like it was simply their turn to guard the Cup for the year.   For the past 33 years Quinte Hellenics have captured this Trophy 25 times.   Remarkable.

    Said Brighton’s Coach Merv Heffernan, “we are honored and somewhat humbled to have the name Brighton Keystone Orange engraved on this hallowed Cup but looking at Hellenics record, we can’t help feeling it’s just a loan”.   Brighton repeated as Champions in 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013.  Fury took the honors in 2009 & 2014.  The saga goes on.

    For 87 years the men of the Quinte area have played Soccer with the hope of someday having their team’s name engraved along side the likes of the great teams listed in this story.  But where did the Trophy go from 1922 to 1949?  Maybe someday we’ll know the “rest of the story”?

Merv Heffernan

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